Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Maxillaria friedrichsthalii

Reichb.f., Bot. Zeitung (Berlin)10:858.1852

Erect or pendent epiphyte; stems slender, covered by closely imbricating bracts; upper pair of bracts often foliaceous; pseudobulbs oblong-elliptic, rugose when dry, 1.5-5 cm long, inserted at an angle on the stem. Leaves 2 or 3 (sometimes 1 or 4) from apex of pseudobulb, ligu­late, 4-18 cm long, to 1.5 cm wide, conduplicate and short-petiolate at base. Flowers solitary on 1 to several scapes from base of mature pseudobulb; scapes 2-4 cm long, bracteate; sepals and petals usually curved in the same direction; sepals subequal, linear-lanceolate,1.5-3 cm long, greenish-yellow or greenish-lavender, the lat­erals adnate to base of column; petals 1-2.5 cm long, greenish-yellow, somewhat smaller than sepals; lip entire, linear-oblanceolate,1-2.5 cm long, 3-6 mm wide, pale yellow-green, geniculate and ± S-shaped in side view, the lateral margins ± erect, dark maroon and thickened at apex, articulated with foot of column. Fruits ± oblong, narrowly tapered at apex, 2.5-3 cm long, ca 6 mm wide, bluntly 3-sided, slightly pruinose, the 3 ribs ca 1.5 mm wide, very thin-winged marginally, the old flower persist­ing. Shattuck 453.

Collected once on the island, but not seen in recent years. Flowers mostly in the early dry season, rarely in the rainy season. Apparently mature-sized fruits were seen undehisced in late July.

Grows clinging to the sides of trees in partial shade (fide Powell 136).

Mexico to Panama. In Panama, known chiefly from premontane moist forest on the Pacific slope in Chiriqui, Coclé, and Panama at intermediate elevations; known also from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama.